Jeff Higgins 2009 Arkansas Workshop Review

by Jeff Higgins on 2009/03/06

Originally written by: Jeff Higins
My name is Jeff Higgins. For those of you thinking about studying with Master Chen Zhonghua I would like to share my background and experience taking a workshop. I have been studying various Chinese martial arts since for the past 8 years. I currently study medical QiGong and Chen Style Taiji with Xiao Chang Zhong. Master Xiao has been practicing Qigong and Taiji Quan for over 40 years.  He is also a Master of Tuina and worked in hospitals in China.  Prior to studying with Master Xiao I studied Tai Xu Quan and Shaolin Animal Boxing with Micheal Reyes. Before studying with Mr. Reyes I studied Xing Yi Quan, Taiji Quan, and Bagua Zhang from Fred and Sande Weaver. Fred Weaver is a Doctor of Chinese Medicine and has been practicing martial arts for approximately 40 years. These teachers are highly skilled and have profoundly impacted my view of the martial and healing arts. I include this information to let the reader know that I have high standards for a
Seeing Youtube clips of Master Chen Zhonghua led me to taking a workshop from him. I’ve been wanting to study with Master Chen for 2 years and was very impressed with his teaching style and ability.  He exhibits high physical ability as well as deep knowledge of Chen Style Taiji Quan.  I was able to learn through hands-on application of the Practical Method. I was not only able to feel Master Chen apply techniques on me but was also able to place hands on him while he applied a technique/feeling to someone else. This is not very common but highly effective at imparting learning. I learn very well visually but one can not really see the depth of skill without feeling Master Chen perform a seemingly simple motion.
Experience generally transcends words for me when learning but I was also impressed with his efforts to find the “right” words. Through accurate and descriptive terminology he attempts to convey the right meaning. He skillfully weaves between numerous teacher methods in hopes of finding a connection with the students own learning style.
Having now experienced Hong’s method of Taiji Quan and the teaching of Chen Zhonghua I have decided to make this my primary focus of training in coordination with my current QiGong practice. I believe diligent practice of Hong’s method through the guidance of Master Chen Zhonghua will produce high skill level.  Those individuals willing to put forth the effort and  study with Master Chen have a great opportunity to be part a of system that teaches through honesty and openness. I feel Master Chen wants his students to succeed. His honesty and generosity reflects not only his character but I suspect Master Hong’s character as well.
Being able to have a private lesson was invaluable since I don’t have the opportunity to study with Master Chen regularly.  I spoke with someone yesterday about my private session and how the hour was spent working on the Positive circle.  When I demonstrated the circle they said, “That’s it, for an hour!”.  I laughed at this and told them this was the best part of studying with Master Chen. The fact that he can transition from macroscopic level to microscopic level in his teaching shows the depth of knowledge and skill he has attained.  Instead of going through the motions I have a stronger feeling for the positive circle then I would have gotten through the workshop alone.  I now find the positive circle lesson affecting and informing me on how to produce power throughout the Yilu form.
Overall my experience with Chen Zhonghua’s workshop is bittersweet. I am thankful for the opportunity to study with a teacher of such high ability and character. It also makes me a little sad because I do not have the opportunity to study with him on a regular basis.  For those of you who study regularly with him I feel are very lucky.  Anyone wanting to study Taiji will not be disappointed with the teaching of Chen Zhonghua.  I look forward to studying with him again at future workshops.

Thank you,
Jeff Higgins

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